Why Jesus Matters (A Post On Atonement)
Jesus matters because He combats a particular disease of our collective cultural psyche. This disease is one of idolatry, in particular the tendency to worship coercive forms of power, in particular political and military power. Jesus is God's response to the ascendency of Emperor worship and the worship of worldly glory. As He reveals what God IS, He also reveals what God is not. Thus he undercuts the cultural contagion of political worship.
Jesus matters because that cultural disease was an incarnation of a greater problem, which is the fact of a satanic presence in the world. Something stood before God and man, and erected walls between all facets of mankind. The wall between man and God is broken down, because Christ's coming removes the impediment to proper worship of God, established in the general worship of political and coercive forms of power. Satan is thrown down from Heaven by Christ, and so the way to Heaven is completely clear.
Jesus matters because the evils of the world made belief in God difficult. This block to faith was one of the walls erected by Satan. Because Jesus has shown us a God we can believe in despite the suffering and evil in the world, because we can know truly that God is love, albeit Suffering Love, we are saved for faithlessness and one of Satan's main tools is robbed of its main power.
Jesus matters because He shows us a God who is in no way indifferent to the evils of the world. He says of sin that it is the suffering of God, and so God's mercy does not make us bitter. We know God cares in spite of His choice to forgive. Mercy and justice are reconciled on the Cross, and so another impediment to faith, and thus another tool of the devil, is removed.
Jesus matters because His choice to suffer gains Him the moral right to forgive and so it is a forgiveness we can receive and accept. A person who has not suffered as a result of a crime cannot forgive, but the victim of a crime can forgive. As Jesus suffers with us, as a consequence of our sin, so He gains the moral position from which forgiveness is possible.
Jesus matters because He extends God's act of adoptive reconciliation to all people. God created an outpost of His self-revelation with Israel. Israel was the first to reveal God, collectively. Because Christ the individual invites opens a way for individuals and not just collectives to reflect God's being, so all people are given the opportunity to be One with God.